The child's rights

Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, primary education must make children aware of their rights. For children who develop this awareness, wide-ranging opportunities open up within their immediate social context. In this context, the basic right to linguistic education becomes the means of access to many further rights. Persons able to read and write, and to do so e.g. in one or more foreign languages as well, will learn to communicate in a more complex way and will develop social competences more easily.

The right to education, specifically the right to learn a foreign language, thus implies the opportunity to penetrate into foreign cultures, to understand the foreign and the Other more readily, to develop both curiosity and tolerance, to pursue paths that but for the knowledge of languages would remain closed, and so to develop one’s personality without constraints.

Young children are unafraid of the unfamiliar, and are open-minded in their approach to language that has strange sounds. But they cannot assert for themselves their right to be given the opportunity to acquire foreign languages in child-friendly ways.